The light hand of history

Éilís Ní  Dhuibhne is a shamefully under-rated writer. A true polymath, she writes in English and Irish, and across the genres – young adult, crime, and literary fiction in both the short story and the novel forms. Her second Selected Stories volume, just published by Dalkey Archive Press, demonstrates the range and breadth of her […]

Igniting sparks

  Where do stories come from?  Most of the time, superstitiously, we don’t ask. And usually, it’s hard to say, because the process is so chaotic when it’s happening, and in retrospect seems too random to catalogue. But in the case of  my story, “Lockjaw”, which appears in the latest issue of The Lonely Crowd […]

The ghost of the good priest

Must all clergy automatically be distrusted because of the Catholic church’s abominable record of sexual and physical abuse?  What about the good priest? Don’t honorable nuns exist? That’s the question Conor O’Callaghan implicitly asks in his recently paperbacked novel, Nothing on Earth.  (It’s a very pertinent question given the heated controversy of recent days about the new national […]

Blowing my own trumpet

On a recent visit to Amsterdam for a reading event, I had cause to do a search for myself on Google Netherlands. (It was for a purely pragmatic reason – honest! I needed to check the cover price of my latest book, Prosperity Drive, just out in paperback). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, according […]

Red-letter royalties

The day that Donal Ryan, above – winner of the Guardian First Book Prize and the European Union Prize for Literature – announced that he was quitting full-time writing and returning to his job in the civil service was a red-letter day for me. Not because of Donal’s announcement, but because on that day I […]

Step away from the Princess

Am I the only Carrie Fisher fan who’ll remember her, not for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars – a film I’ve never seen – but for her writing? Particularly her fiction. I haven’t read her most recent memoir, The Princess Diarist, which charts her sudden leap into the limelight at the age […]